Identifying the Impact of a DEU Experience on Critical Thinking in Associate Degree Nursing Students

Friday, 28 July 2017

Elizabeth C. Campbell, MSN
Lab and Clinical Placement Coordinator, RN to BSN Program Coordinator, Lawrence Memorial Regis College Nursing and Radiography Program, Medford, MA, USA
Thomas W. Gunning, MSN
Director of Behavioral Health Nursing, Hallmark Health System, Melrose, MA, USA
Nancy Phoenix Bittner, PhD
Vice President of Education, Lawrence Memorial Regis College Nursing and Radiography Program, Medford, MA, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to identify the impact of the DEU experience on AD nursing student's Clinical Reasoning ability. Using Benner's model of Novice to Expert progression, this model supports development through role modeling, acquisition of skills and deliberate practice, as well as more total immersion into the role of the nurse on a chosen unit.

Methods: Design and Methods

The Health Sciences Reasoning Tool will be administered pre-and post DEU experience to measure the development of critical thinking in the experimental group of DEU students (n= 18 per semester) against a control group of students in each course (NU102 Days and Evenings, and NU 201 Evenings at baseline as the course begins, and again following the clinical experience of all groups. The Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) measures high-stakes reasoning and decision-making processes. The HSRT is specifically calibrated for trainees in health sciences educational programs (undergraduate and graduate) and for professional health science practitioners. Scores on this instrument have been found to predict successful professional licensure and high clinical performance ratings.

Setting and Sample

All adult nursing students 18 years or over in the second semester nursing course of both the day and evening nursing program will be included in the study. We plan to begin the project on two medical-surgical units in acute care hospital settings.

Data analysis

The tool is analyzed per the company formula for univariate and bivariate, correlations.

Results:  This study is a new study in progress over the academic year and will be continued sequentially in subsequent semesters.

Conclusion:  The study question here is: " Does participation in the clinical experience of a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) as an AD nursing student have a significantly positive effect on Clinical Reasoning development?" It is the belief of the researchers that the study will support positive results given the one on one teaching and mentoring of a student versus the traditional approach of 1:7 currently seen in our clinical group. This is an ongoing study but results will be available by the end of our academic year, We have significant positive anecdotal feedback from students and clinical faculty about the experience, but as previously stated no studies can be found to support the growth of clinical reasoning in students. We know that the needs for orientation, and subsequent costs for orientation can be reduced by use of this model, but we have no hard evidence to support the professional growth we presume occurs.. In addition, professional growth of Clinical Teachers is an added bonus, and while not part of the study discussion here will be addressed in the poster as the role allows nurses with an interest in teaching to work with students, an added benefit in the known faculty shortage here in the US.